Blink Book Review #9: "Pops: Learning to be a Son and Father" by Craig Melvin

Reba Campbell

Posted 8/10/23

By Reba Campbell

Stories of local folks who’ve found national acclaim always interest me. And if they’re in the world of journalism or politics even more so. That’s part of the reason I picked up Craig Melvin’s book on a recent trip to the Richland Library. While I don’t know him personally, we’ve got enough mutual friends that I feel a little kinship with his story.

While this book focuses on Craig’s path to the Today show set, it’s more than just his professional progress that he writes about. This book explores his journey to understand and accept an unaccountable father who battled alcoholism and who wasn’t very present in Craig’s growing up years. The timing of the book lines up with the beginning of Craig’s own journey as a father to his young children, Delano and Sybil.

Craig’s storytelling skills from years in television translate nicely to the page with a writing style that’s conversational and descriptive without sugarcoating the challenges his family faced. He deftly balances facing down the demons he dealt with around his father with celebrating the strong women who surround him now and guided him growing up.

Reba Campbell with Craig Melvin on the Today plaza in Nov. ’22.

The local references to Columbia landmarks along with his descriptions of his Washington years at the NBC affiliate all resonated strongly with me because of my overlapping path … not to mention it was fun to see the role old friends from WIS played in Craig’s career path.

This book is the convergence of an intensely personal story with a larger examination of addiction, redemption and forgiveness. And I imagine the book is also a personal gift to Craig’s children as they get older to understand and accept their family’s story.

In 2022, Reba Campbell set out to get off the screens and back to books for the summer. She set a goal of reading a book a week. Her accountability was writing short Blink Book Reviews (so short you can read them in a blink). Join Reba’s Blink Book Review Facebook group to follow along for the 2023 summer series. Reba is president of The Medway Group can be reached at

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